State regains control over inmates’ healthcare at San Quentin

Inmates walk in file in front at San Quentin State Prison
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

California is regaining responsibility for providing medical care at San Quentin State Prison because of improving conditions there.

The receiver appointed by a federal court, J. Clark Kelso, announced Wednesday that he has returned those operations at the state’s oldest prison to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

It’s the 10th of California’s 34 prisons to be released from federal control as the state slowly makes progress toward improving conditions for inmates.

A federal judge says the state must successfully operate all the prisons for a year before he considers ending a long-running class-action lawsuit concerning inmate healthcare.


San Quentin was built in 1852 by inmates who slept on a prison ship anchored in San Francisco Bay. It now has more than 3,800 inmates, including California’s death row.